Neil Young – Long May You Run

Always a favorite Neil Young song of mine. This was the title song on the joint album by Neil Young and Stephen Stills. Stills and Young wrote separately for the album, which Stephen contributing four songs, and Young adding five, including the title track.

It was going to be a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young album but Crosby and Nash to leave for a while for commitments. Stills and Young scrubbed the tapes clean of any contributions made by their bandmates and resolved to keep the album a Stills-Young release. It would end up being credited to the Stills-Young Band.

Stills and Young toured on the album but after a few dates…Neil Young abruptly left the tour and sent a telegram to Stills…“Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.”

The song did chart in the UK at #71 in 1976.

 

From Songfacts

Neil’s beloved Pontiac hearse, “Mort” (a.k.a. “Mortimer Hearseburg”), was the inspiration for this song. Neil drove “Mort” from Toronto to Los Angeles, where he met Stephen Stills and formed Buffalo Springfield.

Neil was in Canada driving to Sudbury when ‘Mort’ broke down in Blind River, June 1965. (Which is contradictory to the lyrics; “well it was back in Blind River, in 1962, when I last saw you alive”).

In 1976, Stephen Stills and Neil Young formed The Stills-Young Band and released an album called Long May You Run, which turned out to be somewhat ironic when the collaboration quickly stalled.

Stills is a longtime collaborator of Neil’s, having worked with him first in Buffalo Springfield and then in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. However, they had a falling out only nine days into the Long May You Run tour. Young decided to abandon the project, leaving Stills with a mere telegram to explain his departure. It read: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.”

In addition to Young’s compilation album Decade this also appears on his 1993 album Unplugged

The last ever Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien on Friday January 22, 2010 finished in style when O’Brien’s final musical guest, Neil Young, performed this song in what appeared to be a poke at NBC. O’Brien had been asked to move his slot to 12:05 a.m., and the TV host refused to move his show to such a late hour, and instead negotiated a $45 million exit deal.

Neil Young performed this song at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games to a rousing ovation of Canadian audience members. 

 

 

Long May You Run

We’ve been through some things together
With trunks of memories still to come
We found things to do in stormy weather
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Well, it was back in Blind River in 1962
When I last saw you alive
But we missed that shift on the long decline
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Maybe The Beach Boys have got you now
With those waves singing “Caroline”
Rollin’ down that empty ocean road
Gettin’ to the surf on time.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Songs That Were Banned: Neil Young – This Note’s For You

This video was banned by MTV because they feared it would upset their sponsors. So, being Neil being Neil…wrote a letter to MTV that stated:

MTV, you spineless twerps.
You refuse to play “This Note’s For You” because you’re afraid to offend your sponsors.
What does the “M” in MTV stand for: music or money?
Long live rock and roll.

This parody of commercial rock was banned by MTV for its critique of the music industry’s cozy relationship with corporate America. The song and video mocked advertisements and did not shy away from dropping company names– the title itself is a jab at Budweiser’s ad campaign of “This Bud’s For You.” The song also made fun of pop artists such as Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Jackson’s legal threats prompted MTV to ban the video. They changed their minds when the song became a hit on Canada’s MuchMusic channel…the same as the BBC did with My Generation when it became a hit.

He has stuck to his policy of refusing to license his music out for commercials, let alone appear in them himself.

Now the music business…if there is still a music business…promotes their music being in commercials to expand their audience.

 

From Songfacts

This song is Neil Young’s critique of artists who “sell out” and allow their songs to be used in commercials, something he has never done. The title is a play on Budweiser’s venerable ad campaign, “This Bud’s For You.” In addition to Bud, Young mentions Coke, Pepsi, and Miller in the lyric.

Artists like Young and Bruce Springsteen have never let their songs be used in commercials, feeling it cheapens their artistic integrity. Many other artists, like The Who and The Rolling Stones, have made lots of money by letting companies use their songs. Some classic rock artists like John Mellencamp resisted for years, but allowed their songs to be used for commercial purposes when they realized it was the best way to get them exposure. A band with a particularly interesting take on the subject is Devo, who feel it is part of their art.

The line, “I got the real thing, baby,” is a reference to the Coke slogan, “It’s the Real Thing,” which was introduced in 1969.

The line, “Ain’t singin’ for Spuds” refers to Spuds MacKenzie, the spokesdog for Bud Light. Introduced in 1987, Spuds was a bull terrier who appeared in their ad campaigns until 1989. Billed as “the original party animal,” Spuds became wildly popular and boosted sales of Bud Light significantly.

Directed by Julien Temple, the video is a parody of various ad campaigns. The opening noir is a sendup of the Michelob campaign that starred “practicing alcoholic” Eric Clapton. Michael Jackson, who was ripe for parody at the time, shows up in impersonator form for the line “ain’t singing for Pepsi” – later in the video his hair catches fire as it did when Jackson was shooting a commercial for the sugary beverage in 1984. Whitney Houston, who shilled for Diet Coke, gets a lookalike for the line “ain’t singing for Coke.”

Next up for mockery are the Calvin Klein “Obsession” commercials, one of the most memorable and baffling campaign’s of the ’80s. There were no rock stars associated with this one, but The Rolling Stones did have a tour sponsored by Jovan. Young’s video turns it into “Concession,” with a dialogue break in the style of the ads:

“Members of the jury, this man is on trial for his smell.”
“Forgive me, but I am prettier than all of you.”
“Liar, give me back my shoes.”

A faux-Spuds MacKenzie also shows up to mock Budweiser.

At the end of the clip, Young turns his beer around to reveal his own slogan: “Sponsored by Nobody.”

There was lots of raunchy debauchery on MTV around this time, but they had a strict policy against product placement, refusing to air videos where products were mentioned by name. This was designed to protect their advertisers and make their commercials more valuable (why would Pepsi buy airtime when they could put a can in a Duran Duran video?). Citing this policy, MTV banned the video, which generated a great deal of controversy and also proved Young’s point about corporate interests infiltrating music. The ban happened in early July 1988; Young sent an open letter to MTV stating:

Forced to admit they were refusing to air an excellent video to protect their sponsors, MTV went into damage control mode and agreed to air the video. They made it into an event, debuting the video on August 21 as part of a 30-minute special about the controversy. Then they awarded it Video of the Year at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards. Young showed up to accept it.

Young discussed his reasons for accepting the award despite it being originally banned in an interview with Village Voice Rock and Roll Quarterly: “I dunno – must be the Perry Como in me. I could do the hard-line Marlon Brando thing, not accept the award, give it to the Indians. But that’s almost the predictable thing to do. You can’t get money to make videos if MTV won’t play them. In accepting the award I thought I’d be able to make more videos and get ’em played.”

MTV at the time was about as permissive as the cable landscape got – at least in terms of bawdy behavior. That’s why it was surprising anytime they deemed something not suitable for air. In 1992, Paul McCartney recorded a concert for MTV for their Up Close series, but the network edited out his song “Big Boys Bickering,” which was about politics and the environment. MTV claimed that the song was excised because of curse words in the lyrics, although it would have been easy enough to bleep them.

This wasn’t the first single from the album: “Ten Men Workin'” was. That song made inroads on rock radio and reached #6 on Billboard’s Album Rock Tracks chart in May 1988. “This Note’s For You,” predictably, had a harder time getting airplay because of the product mentions. It garnered the most attention during the video controversy, but still only reached #19 on that chart as radio stations continued to shy away from it.

This is the title track to the only album Young recorded with The Bluenotes as his backup band, members of which included Chad Cromwell on drums and Frank Sampedro on keyboards and a six-piece horn section. Befitting their name, This Note’s For You is a blues album.

This was released as a single with the A-side a live version recorded at The Palace in Los Angeles on April 14, 1988 and the B-side a studio cut from the album.

This Note’s For You

Don’t want no cash
Don’t need no money
Ain’t got no stash
This note’s for you.

Ain’t singin’ for Pepsi
Ain’t singin’ for Coke
I don’t sing for nobody
Makes me look like a joke
This note’s for you.

Ain’t singin’ for Miller
Don’t sing for Bud
I won’t sing for politicians
Ain’t singin’ for Spuds
This note’s for you.

Don’t need no cash
Don’t want no money
Ain’t got no stash
This note’s for you.

I’ve got the real thing
I got the real thing, baby
I got the real thing
Yeah, alright.

Neil Young – Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) and… My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)

If death could be translated into a tone…Neil had it with his guitar when he played the Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) intro. It’s one of the darkest, nastiest, ominous and distorted tones ever.

This is an alternate version of Young’s song “My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue).” The lyrics are slightly different, and “Hey Hey, My My” is electric, while “My My, Hey Hey,” is acoustic. (At the bottom)

The two songs we are covering today are on Rust Never Sleeps. The album peaked at #8 on the Billboard album chart in 1979.

Ok… Now My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)… This song has the line (It’s better to burn out than to fade away) which I see is still being talked about to this day.

John Lennon expressed his disagreement with the “burn out or fade away” sentiment in this song: “I hate it. It’s better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. If he was talking about burning out like Sid Vicious, forget it. I don’t appreciate the worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or dead John Wayne. It’s the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison – it’s garbage to me. I worship the people who survive.”

Neil Young responded to the quote, saying that he was describing the paradoxical nature of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, not advocating it.

The line got responses from many rock stars and was included in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note.

From Songfacts

Young recorded this with the band Crazy Horse. It was the first time Young recorded with them since Zuma in 1975.

In the biography of Neil Young, Shakey by Jimmy McDonough, Neil points out that this song came about when he was jamming with the band Devo. The phrase, “Rust never sleeps” was uttered by Mark Mothersbaugh, and Neil, loving the impromptu line, acquired it. 

The lyrics refer to “The King” and Johnny Rotten as rockers whose legacies live on. The king is Elvis Presley and Johnny Rotten was the lead singer of The Sex Pistols.

In The Complete Guide to the Music of Neil Young, Young explains why the line “rust never sleeps” appealed to him. “It relates to my career; the longer I keep on going the more I have to fight this corrosion. And now that’s gotten to be like the World Series for me. The competition’s there, whether I will corrode and eventually not be able to move anymore and just repeat myself until further notice or whether I will be able to expand and keep the corrosion down a little.”

The song has become a standby of Young’s live performances, being played at nearly every live show throughout his career, often as a closing song.

This was included on Live Rust, a concert album and video featuring Young playing against a backdrop of comically enormous amps and microphones.

 

Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.

Out of the blue and into the black
You pay for this, but they give you that
And once you’re gone, you can’t come back
When you’re out of the blue and into the black.

The king is gone but he’s not forgotten
This is the story of Johnny Rotten
It’s better to burn out ’cause rust never sleeps
The king is gone but he’s not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye.

My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)

My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It’s better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.

Out of the blue and into the black
They give you this, but you pay for that
And once you’re gone, you can never come back
When you’re out of the blue and into the black.

The king is gone but he’s not forgotten
This is the story of a johnny rotten
It’s better to burn out than it is to rust
The king is gone but he’s not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.

Neil Young – Campaigner ——— Songs that reference Richard Nixon

I hardly slept the night you wept, Our secret’s safe and still well kept, Where even Richard Nixon has got soul., Even Richard Nixon has got Soul.

Campaigner has a more sympathetic take on the former president. This song was inspired by Richard Nixon’s wife Pat when she had a stroke in 1976. Cameron Crowe, then a Rolling Stone magazine writer remembered:  Neil Young is on tour. Young and his son, Zeke, are sitting on a hotel bed watching television. A news bulletin interrupts the broadcast. Pat Nixon, the wife of the disgraced former president, had suffered a stroke. The report has an announcer talking over a film clip of a distraught Richard Nixon moving through the hospital’s revolving doors. Young took it all in and after some time passed, headed for his bus in the hotel’s parking lot. There he wrote a song, “Campaigner,” and played it in concert a few hours later.

The song was on the Decade, a triple album set that was released in 1977. It’s also on Songs For Judy, a live album recorded in November 1976 that was released in 2018.

 

Campaigner

I am a lonely visitor.
I came to late to cause a stir,
Though I campaigned all my life
towards that goal.

I hardly slept the night you wept
Our secret’s safe and still well kept
Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
Even Richard Nixon has got
Soul.

Traffic cops are all color blind.
People steal from their own kind.
Evening comes to early for a stroll.
Down neon streets the streaker streaks.
The speaker speaks,
but the truth still leaks,

Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
Even Richard Nixon has got it,
Soul.

The podium rocks in the crowded waves.
The speaker talks of the beautiful saves
That went down long before
he played this role
For the hotel queens and the magazines,
Test tube genes and slot machines
Where even Richard Nixon got soul.
Even Richard Nixon has got it,
Soul.

Hospitals have made him cry,
But there’s always a freeway in his eye,
Though his beach just got
too crowded for his stroll.
Roads stretch out like healthy veins,
And wild gift horses strain the reins,
Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
Even Richard Nixon has got
Soul.

I am a lonely visitor.
I came to late to cause a stir,
Though I campaigned all my life
towards that goal.

Neil Young – Cinnamon Girl

Love the nasty sound Neil has on his guitar. The song peaked at #55 in the Billboard 100 and #25 in Canada in 1970. Neil recruited guitarist Danny Whitten, bassist Billy Talbot & drummer Ralph Molina from a local psychedelic group called The Rockets, and renamed them Crazy Horse. The song was on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The album peaked at #34 in the Billboard 200 album chart and #32 in Canada.

In the liner notes of his Decade compilation, Neil said “Wrote this for a city girl on peeling pavement coming at me thru Phil Ochs eyes playing finger cymbals. It was hard to explain to my wife.”

From Songfacts
Phil Ochs was a folk/protest singer active in the ’60s who had issues with his mental stability (although his paranoia about the FBI turned out not to be far off). Young’s wife at the time was Susan Acevedo; they were married for just one year at this point.

Though Young would not identify his muse, the bit about finger cymbals is a reference to ’60s folk singer Jean Ray, who performed with then-husband Jim Glover under the name Jim and Jean. Phil Ochs, a close friend of a couple, penned the title song to their second album, Changes.

Brian Ray, Paul McCartney’s guitarist and Jean’s younger brother, claims the song is indeed about his sister. Jean, herself, said she inspired another Neil Young song from the Everybody Knows This is Nowhere album: “Cowgirl in the Sand.”

In the book Shakey, Young copped to having a crush on Ray. When asked if she is the Cinnamon Girl, Young said, “Only part of the song. There’s images in there that have to do with Jean and there’s images that have to do with other people.”

Young recorded this with his band Crazy Horse. It was originally released on the Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere album in 1969. Young put out an alternate version as a single in 1970, which did well partly because he was getting exposure as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

In Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Neil Young talked about poaching the band The Rockets for the formation of Crazy Horse, who he first recorded with on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere: “The truth is, I probably did steal them away from the other band, which was a good band. But only because what we did, we went somewhere.” He later goes on to say, “That’s the hardest part, is the guilt of the trail of destruction that I’ve left behind me.”

In the same work, it is also mentioned that “With songs such as ‘Cinnamon Girl,’ ‘Down By The River,’ and ‘Cowgirl in the Sand,’ Crazy Horse clearly gave Neil Young the kind of sympathetic and almost telepathic backing he needed.” Neil Young went on to declare Crazy Horse “the American Rolling Stones.”

The band Type O Negative did a remake on their 1996 album October Rust. The song was also covered by Smashing Pumpkins on the Reel Sessions bootleg.

That’s Danny Whitten singing high harmony on this this song with Young. Whitten was a singer/guitarist in Young’s backing band Crazy Horse, which released its own album in 1970 featuring a few Whitten compositions, including “I Don’t Want To Talk About It,” later a #1 UK hit for Rod Stewart. Whitten spent his last years battling a heroin addiction, and in 1972 died after overdosing on alcohol and Valium.

The liner notes to Decade reveal that “Down by the River,” “Cinnamon Girl,” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” all in a single afternoon – while sick with a 103 degree temperature. Also, they were recorded after being together with the band Crazy Horse for only two weeks.”

Cinnamon Girl

I want to live with a Cinnamon Girl
I could be happy the rest of my life 
with a Cinnamon Girl

A dreamer of pictures, I run in the night
you see us together chasin’ the moonlight
my Cinnamon Girl

Ten silver saxes, a bass with a bow
the drummer relaxes and waits between shows
for his Cinnamon Girl

A dreamer of pictures, I run in the night
you see us together chasin’ the moonlight
my Cinnamon Girl

Pa, send me money now
I’m gonna make it somehow
I need another chance
You see, your baby loves to dance
yeah, yeah, yeah

Neil Young – Down By The River

This song was on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere released in 1969. Crazy Horse was on the album also…Crazy Horse included Danny Whitten – guitar, Billy Talbot – Bass and Ralph Molina on drums.  The album included Cinnamon Girl and Cowgirl in the Sand.

Neil Young said that he wrote this song as well as “Cinnamon Girl” and “Cowgirl In The Sand” in one day while sick with a fever…thats a good days work.

With the chorus of “I shot my baby – down by the river,” this song gets your attention. In a 1970 interview, Neil Young cleared it up: “There’s no real murder in it. It’s about blowing your thing with a chick. See, now in the beginning, it’s ‘I’ll be on your side, you be on mine’. It could be anything. Then the chick thing comes in. Then at the end it’s a whole other thing. It’s a plea… a desperation cry.” 

From Songfacts

Young recorded Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere with his band, Crazy Horse. Soon after the album was released, he was asked to join Crosby, Stills & Nash, and he spent the next year dividing his time between that group and Crazy Horse.

Neil elaborated the song during a lengthy introduction before a September 27th life performance in New Orleans: “I’d like to sing you a song about a guy who had a lot of trouble controlling himself,” Young began. “He let the dark side side come thru a little too bright.” The explanation goes on the describe the murder, the killer’s arrest and, finally, the guilt he feels as he realized what he’s done.”

Down By The River

Be on my side I’ll be on your side, baby
There is no reason for you to hide,
This much madness is too much sorrow,
It’s impossible to make it today,
Hey, hey, ooh-ooh

She could drag me over the rainbow,
Send me away.

Down by the river
I shot my baby
Down by the river,
Dead, shot her dead.

You take my hand, I’ll take your hand,
Together we may get away.

My Favorite Guitarists

Here are some of my favorite guitarists. Being fast is not something I care about… I’ve always liked guitarists who play with feel more than finger tapping.

 

Roger McGuinn, Byrds – He will not rip off lightning licks but he plays the Rickenbacker 12 string like no one else. I like the tone and his understated style.

Image result for roger mcguinn playing guitar byrds

Neil Young – This may seem like an odd choice but when Neil plays the electric guitar…anything that can happen will. He plays by feel and feedback and God bless him for that.

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Brian May, Queen– You can hum his solos. One of the most melodic lead guitar players I’ve ever heard.

Image result for brian may playing guitar young

Pete Townsend, Who – The king of the power chord. Pete does not have blinding speed but every note he plays is for a purpose.

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Keith Richards, Stones – The Human Riff… When Keith found G tuning the Stones sound changed forever and it may have been the key to their longevity.

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George Harrison, Beatles – After the Beatles, he reinvented himself into a great slide guitar player. Guitar players are still trying to find that tone. He had a great touch and taste in whatever he played.

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Buddy Guy – For electric blues and the tone he gets Buddy Guy is the man. Below is a picture of Buddy at the Festival Express playing a great version of Money.

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Jimi Hendrix – Like Keith Moon…many musicians have tried to copy him but none have. It is controlled chaos but I like it.

Image result for jimi hendrix 1970

Chuck Berry – Rock and roll owes a lot to him…he has been copied more than anyone.

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Scotty Moore, Elvis – The guitar player backing Elvis on his great 50s hits. Keith Richards said of Moore… Everyone else wanted to be Elvis, I wanted to be Scotty.

Image result for scotty moore 1955

Also

Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Peter Green, Lindsey Buckingham, BB King, Joe Walsh, Jimmy Page